Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Like the vast majority of American babies, I started out sleeping in a crib. I even remember my crib. I used to stand there and gnaw on the top railing to the consternation of my mother ("you practically chewed through that railing"). It's probably no surprise that I transitioned to gnawing on pencils when I entered school, often until I got to the lead. I was a weird child and an even weirder adult, and now since pens are more mainstream than pencils, I've given up pencils as part of my diet and have added pen caps. I've been told this is less hygienic but more therapeutic.

At the age of 3 or so, my crib vanished one day, and I was now the owner of a full-size bed, which is a few inches less wide than a queen size bed. It was a serious space upgrade to go to that big of a bed. I loved it! Then my mom and I started our moving expedition. I can't even count how many times we moved; it was all such a blur when you count all the apartments, houses, people (including my teacher) we lived with. Toward the end of the moving expedition, my lovely full-size bed frame broke. As in, I was in bed (all 80 pounds of me at that time, so you can't claim it was my sheer weight that did it), and the bed collapsed. The wood frame basically gave out, fractured, and was deemed not fixable.

For a few years I slept on the pullout couch that had been moved to my room. Not the best thing ever because there were these buttons on the very thin mattress that poked into your back while you slept. Unless you put many layers of blankets down under you, you could feel those pesky buttons.

A few factors went into the decision to get the next bed that would see me through the rest of high school. My room was super tiny, and the full-size bed and then sofa bed had taken up a vast majority of the space. The bed frame had been huge, as it had been made in the early 1900s. I thought something more dainty might be a nice change of pace. And of course cost was a factor. My mom didn't want to spend a lot. I ended up getting a daybed to conserve space and have a more girlish look. It was white with dainty little posts highlighted by pictures of flowers with brass on them. Probably not exactly "me," but it was on clearance and, again, cost was a major determinant.

I HATED this new bed. It wasn't necessarily the looks either. It was LOUD. I'm an awful sleeper; I move all night, rub my legs against the sheets all night, twist, turn, etc. This bed squeaked ANY time you did ANYthing. It even squeaked if I moved my arm to itch my nose. The squeaking kept me (and likely my mother) up all night. Another horrible thing about this clearance daybed was that it majorly sagged in the middle. That caused me to be a more agitated sleeper than I already was. Being a daybed, it was twin-sized. That isn't necessarily bad, but I kept banging into the bars on the back of it. They were metal bars, so it wasn't all that comfortable.

About a month after having the Most Awful Bed in the History of All Time, I decided to sleep on the floor next to my bed. It was far more comfortable, less squeaky, and I could sprawl out more. Plus my stereo speakers were there, and I could sleep with my stereo on very low and still hear the music. My mom hated that I slept on the floor, "I spent so much money (really?) on that bed, and now you sleep on the floor." That's because it sucked, but I didn't tell her that.

I proceeded to sleep on the floor for the next 4 years. Actually it was fine, but again this might be why most people consider me to be fairly low maintenance. I just make do, and I never complained about it to my mother. I don't think I even complained about it to husband because I don't remember telling him about all those years I slept on the floor.

Then I go off to college. At first I was a bit concerned about the state of the dorm mattresses (have you seen the stains on those things???), but I quickly learned that you put an inch thick cover on it & just pretend that the cover will block you from any cooties. They are extra narrow twin mattresses, and having come from sleeping on the floor, which does tend to have more space, I was a bit skeptical of the tight quarters.

I loved the dorm mattresses. Maybe it is good to come from no standards. I also loved the dorm food, and I was quickly told that my mom must not cook, which is indeed true. To me living in the dorm was like living like a queen ... in an extra narrow bed.  I loved sleeping next to someone in the extra narrow twin bed too. I always claimed the wall side. I didn't want to worry about falling out of a bed that's several feet off the ground. The wall side was also nice for other reasons. You were next to the cool wall. In the summer, it was a nice way to cool off one side of your body, and in the winter you could put a blanket against it for extra warmth. Another reason was that you could wedge things between the wall and the mattress: a midnight snack, a book, etc. There was a certain logistical problem of putting two adults on an extra narrow twin bed. I tended to have to be a side sleeper, which I would have thought I would have hated, but it actually worked out okay. Maybe it was nice to have the comfort of a wall and another person to block me in. For whatever reason, I loved sharing an extra narrow twin bed.

Then I got a super single, which meant I had two extra narrow twin beds in my room. As most people do who have super singles, I jammed them both together and ended up with a bed somewhere between a queen and a king with a big crack down the middle. I suppose the advantage of this was that if someone ever stayed over that you really weren't into, you could designate sleeping assignments with the crack down the middle as a dividing line. I only have neutral memories of this bed set-up; it wasn't as cozy as two people on a twin bed.

I moved off-campus after only a year. My mom gave me mats, which were much easier to transport than a mattress in our Corolla. Basically gym mats - those blue mats you see at gymnasiums. (Do you see a theme? When my mom chooses my bed, it sucks.) On the plus side, gym mats aren't squeaky. They are small, and I don't believe are meant to be slept on. I had 2 years of the gym mats.

When I moved in with my husband, he had a queen size bed (with a frame! that didn't squeak! that didn't sag!). It was heaven. While I actually wouldn't mind a twin size bed, I realize that a queen size bed is far more practical for two people. It was so nice to sleep in a REAL bed.

Once we got married, we realized that an unfortunate consequence of owning a house is that people will come stay with you. We didn't really have a guest bed unless the gym mats and the old squeaky, saggy daybed counted. Can you see the in-laws sleeping on the gym mats? might cut down on their visits. Plus I really didn't like the bedroom furniture my husband brought into the relationship. While, yes, it was actual furniture, it was sooooo not my taste. I tried to find an image of it on Google, but ... ummm...everything was far too nice. It was from the 1980s, painted black plywood with brass accents - what you will find in the free section of Craigslist. So we decide to get a new bedroom set and new mattress & move the old bed to the guest bedroom. We didn't really think too hard about the size. A queen size bed just seemed about perfect for us - enough space but not too much that you don't know someone's in bed with you. And it was the size we were familiar with.

Then we had a child, and she has slept with us quite a bit. I think she slept the first 9 months in our bed. Most of that she was swaddled, so it wasn't too bad. When she finally outgrew swaddling (could move around at night without waking herself up---I think I STILL need to be swaddled), we kept getting slapped by her and decided to move her to her crib.

Now she tends to wander in during the night, crawl into our bed, plop herself down between us, go back to sleep immediately, and then kick and/or slap us for the rest of the night. Nothing like being whacked across the face at 3am. I realize that my daughter got my sleeping tendencies.

Now we kind of wish we had a king size bed. Maybe the whacking and kicking would subside if she had more space. Then I realize how ridiculous it is to buy a new bed because she comes into our bed in the middle of the night. At some point it's going to stop, right? Or we need to send her back to her bed.

The funny thing is that she usually gets in bed without either of us waking. She crawls in over my husband, situates herself, and we wake up to see that we had a visitor come during the night. One would hope that we wouldn't be so accepting of just ANYone crawling into bed with us during the middle of the night, and hopefully we've just learned to tune out a certain 28 pound toddler.

A queen size bed is perfectly fine (right?), and at some point she will end up staying in her bed all night. I don't think there's many 13 year olds that routinely get in bed with their parents.

My vision for payback is crawling into bed with her when she's a teenager. Do you think she would appreciate that? Random night visits sound good for so many reasons when you have a teenager anyway.

We've just got to get through this rough patch, and then I will enjoy the perfectly sized queen bed again.

No comments: